Monday, 1 September 2008

Spring into Lavender Shortbread


Today is the first day of Spring down under. I knew that spring was coming because I could her the "tweet! tweet! tweet!" from the baby and mommy birds at dawn....and when my lavender bush started to flower for the first time a few weeks ago. Quikong planted this lavender bush many months ago as a surprise because he knew that lavender is my favourite essential oil. I love rolling the fresh flowers between my palms and breathing in its soothing aroma. Even the leaves and stems of the lavender has a fragrance.

After an exhausting but rewarding pre-spring cleaning weekend, I thought that these Lavender Shortbreads were the perfect way to welcome spring. Although Quikong was initially apprehensive about consuming lavender, even he was surprised how delicious these were.

I used this Lavender Shortbread recipe from Jen of Milk & Cookies (thanks, Jen!!) who adapted it from this award winning matcha (green tea) shortbread recipe. The result was as Jen promised - "blissful buttery texture that melts in your mouth....aromatic sweetness". It also keeps its shape perfectly (great for more elaborate shapes if you wish) and is simple to make.

Kitchen Notes:
- I didn't coat the cookies in granulated sugar before baking.
- Make sure that you use lavender specifically for baking. The ones for potpourri usually has chemicals added into them.
- Vary the strength of the lavender aroma:
(a) Stronger: For a stronger lavender flavour without adding more dried lavender - crush the lavender in a mortar and pestle and let the aroma infuse over night by mixing the crushed flower into the sugar.
(b) More subtle: Omit the dried lavender. Instead, roll a few whole fresh lavender stems between your palms and place it in the sugar overnight. Remove the lavender before using the sugar in the recipe.


I think these shortbreads are rather elegant and make great gifts. Since the recipe uses dried lavender, you do not have to wait for spring to make these shortbread.

To our Muslim readers: Wishing you all a blessed month of Ramadan. These shortbreads and a cup of tea could be a sweet way to break a day of fasting. :-)

Enjoy!

35 comments:

Cynthia's Blog said...

Really nice way to use that lavender. We are heading into fall and I want to preserve mine. These would taste nice during our winter. Thanks for the Ramadan reminder too.

Lucy said...

Those little tweetering birdies! They are getting up earlier and earlier. Thus I am too.

Beautiful lavender - I think we have the same variety growing out the front.

Happy spring to you, dear Nora. Looking forward to pushing up sleeves and getting outdoors!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

'Tis the season for baking with lavender up here in New England, too. Your cookies look so elegant -- would make a lovely gift!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

These cookies look delicious! Every lavender recipe I see sends me out back to look at my lavender plants, as if I can intimidate them into flowering already. I don't think its working, lol.

Bellini Valli said...

There is a lavender farm close to home where I can get culinary lavender. These shortbreads sound like a special way to use it:D

Gloria (Canela) said...

ooh dear Nora this is soooo beauty!!! really!! I have lavanders too at home!! they smell delicious! xxGloria

Nora B. said...

Cynthia - I think these shortbreads are great for every season. :-)

---

Lucy - I've been naturally waking up earlier as well! I am def looking forward to more outdoor activities. :-)

---

Lydia - Thanks! I never seem to be able to let these cookies out of the house though....

---

Mike - Patience, my dear! My lavender bush suddenly started to flower, literally overnight, it seems.

---

Val - Some people think it's strange to eat lavender, but I think it is actually very delicious & not overpowering. I was surprised that Quikong liked it.

---

Gloria - Thank you, my dear. I am addicted to lavender!! :-)

Jeena said...

I walked past some lavender plants last week and my grabbed a little flower to smell and the scent was so intense! Lavender is so lovely and relaxing so I bet these shortbreads would go great with a warm drink and a book. :-)

Jeff said...

Awesome use of lavender!!! My mom can grow that herb like there is no tommorrow. Me I murder the herb.

Adds such an awesome flavor to anything and I may have to steal some from mom to try this.

Hannah said...

These look so delicate and tasty, perfect to serve with a cup of tea. I bet they would be great with a chocolate glaze, too! Maybe I should try that... ;)

veron said...

Interesting how you are heading into spring over there and we are heading into the fall. I have not tried lavender in baking yet but I am very curious as to how it would taste.

Toni said...

I've got lavender in my garden - both Spanish and French. This recipe looks too good to pass up!!!

Sophie said...

Oooh, I bet these smell lovely when they're baking :)!

We'd like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest (the recipe can be sweet or savory). All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me, sophiekiblogger@gmail.com, if you're interested.

Feel free to check out our blog for more details: http://blog.keyingredient.com/2008/08/29/september-kick-contest/

Thanks :),
Sophie
KI Chief Blogger

Nora B. said...

Jeena - I do that whenever I past a lavender plant as well! ;-)

---

Jeff - I'm like you. Quikong is the one with the magic fingers so I leave it to him to do most of the planting.

---

Hannah - Chocolate glaze....hmmmm, that sounds tempting...either a deep, dark choc or a white choc glaze. :-)

---

Veron - It tastes better than I imagined. I first tried it in a store bought cookie (flaked almond & lavender) in Singapore and since then, I was hooked.

---

Toni - wow, you've got both varieties!

---

Sophie - I would love to participate! Thanks for letting me know.

Kevin said...

Those cookies look good. I am going to have to look for some lavender to try.

Apples and Butter said...

Looks delicious and really elegant. I am very jealous that you are heading into spring as we are just leaving summer behind. Enjoy the season!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I know I would be delighted to receive such lovely cookies for a gift.

Lotta said...

Hello!

Thanks for your comments.

Lovely cake with lavender.
Hope you have nice weather in yuor country. here it is only rain. Much rain;( and we have more cold now.

Have yuo nice sites for how your area are for example?

Have a nice weekend//Lotta

Kate / Kajal said...

Hi Nora .. how wonderful, you have your own lavender ! the shortbread seems just the perfect way to use them. I can almost the aroma here :)

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Nora,

Very interesting recipe... and make me want to try cooking with lavender now!!... Before I had in my mind lavender only as a scent for wardrobe or soap in the bathroom :)))

It is raining in London for the last few days and it looks like Summer is gone for good.... so I'm a little bit jealous of your lavender plants in the garden ;)

Have a good day, M.

Rosa said...

I've always been nervous about cooking with lavender, but I do have some beautiful lavender-infused olive oil that I like to drizzle on goat's cheese, so why not lavender in shortbread too?

Nora B. said...

Thanks, Kevin :-)

---

Susan - Homemade gifts are the best, I think.

---

Dear Lotta, it was raining a lot last week but now it is sunny. I will look for some nice websites of Sydney and send you the link if I find any good ones.

---

Kate - Hmm..I feel like baking more, just for the aroma! :-)

---

Margot, it's been raining here as well, but finally starting to get sunny again. I hope your gym routine has been going well :-)

---

Hi Rosa, Lavender-infused olive oil! Lucky you. Now I have to look for that or maybe make my own. :-)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful! I remember when Jen posted those and I thought about making them. Now you've talked me into it!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Long time no speak Nora. Hope you're well. These look fab! I love lavender and have been wanting to get some to cook with for ages. Might make a trip to a sort of local organic lavender farm before it's all finished. Take care. x

Susan said...

Do I adore herbs in sweets. : }
So pretty, delicate and rich. Really lovely, Nora. Our weather here is changing for the cooler. Yay! Good thing, too; now I want to bake every day.

winedeb said...

Hi Nora! These are such lovely shortbreads! I can just smell the lavender!
As you are preparing for spring, we are for fall, although we surely are not having fall weather! I too hear the "tweet, tweet" outside. Some of the birds from up north are starting their migration south for the winter and luckily we are a stopover for them!
Hope all is well your way!
Your blog is looking marvelous!

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

Wow, these are cute & gorgeous shortbread cookies Nora. I'll make sure to get my hands on lavender to try your recipe!

Hillary said...

Wow, I wish it was spring here because that lavender shortbread looks really delicious!

Alexa said...

What a beautiful idea... I have had lavender in biscotti but not shortbread. These look awesome.

Cynthia said...

I can just imagine how heavenly they must smell and taste!

Nora B. said...

Lynn - You gotta make some!

---

Hi Amanda, yes, it's been a while. I'll have to wander over to your blog to see what you are up to :-)

---

Hi Susan, thank you. Cooler weather does make me want to bake more too.

---

Thanks, Deb. I hope that you can shake off your blog block soon.

---

Thanks, Stella.

---

Hillary, welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, these were delicious.

---

Alexa, than you. Lavender in biscotti may have to be by next project! :-)

---

Cynthia, baking these did make the whole house smell lovely. Will have to make more soon. :-)

Anh said...

This is lovely Nora! :) And thanks so much for all the beautiful wishes for our wedding.

I just got home from Sydney. Looks like I will be there permanently very soon! Wish me luck!

Aimée said...

Happy spring, Nora!!Pack up those sweaters and make a pitcher of lemonade.

Deborah said...

I still have not tried baking with lavender, but these cookies are beautiful!

Big Boys Oven said...

lovely shortbread! especially lavenders